Wednesday 11 December 2013
Starting 18 December, some licensed premises in Ashburton District will see changes to their maximum trading hours.
The changes are part of the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 and are aimed at minimising alcohol related harm.
Under the new legislation the maximum hours of operation are either those included in the Act or those included in a Local Alcohol Policy. With no councils able to have their local policy in place until around February 2014 at the earliest there will be a period when the maximum hours in the Act will apply.
The new maximum hours are:
- 8am-4am for on-licenses (bars and restaurants)
- 7am-11pm for off-licenses (supermarkets, grocery stores, bottle stores and taverns with across-the-bar sales)
Ashburton District Council Licensing Inspector Alison Batcheler says locally the biggest impact will be for grocery stores that open before 7am and pubs that operate an over-the-counter off-license service in line with their on-license hours.
"Grocery stores have normally had their licensed hours the same as their operating hours and for some this will mean they can't sell alcohol outside of the maximum hours in the Act," says Mrs Batcheler.
Likewise pubs with an over-the-counter off license facility will need to stop selling alcohol to take away at 11pm.
"This change may catch a few patrons out if they are used to picking up alcohol to take away later than 11pm," says Mrs Batcheler.
Licenced premises with shorter hours remain bound by their current licence and cannot extend to these maximum hours.
Council is currently developing a Local Alcohol Policy for the district. A provisional policy, including local maximum opening hours, will be notified early in 2014 and will be become operative one month later if there are no public objections to the policy.
In the meantime, the default maximum hours in the Act or the current licence hours, whichever is shorter, will continue to apply.